Expats in Geneva – Living Confidently in an International City

Many expats in Geneva are living in such stability and confidence brought by the city’s international involvement and associations. It is a wonderful city that is expat-friendly due to its history and geographical basis.

Geneva is the 2nd most populated city in Switzerland (next to Zurich) and is also the most populous city of the French-speaking part of Switzerland, Romandie. It is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, situated where the Rhône River exits Lake Geneva (Lac Léman, in French). While the municipality itself (city center ville de Genève) has a population of 191,415 as of December 2010, the canton or district of Geneva (République et Canton de Genève, which includes the city) has 457,628 residents, as of December 2009.

Geneva is an international city, a financial centre, and a worldwide centre for negotiation and the most important UN international co-operation centre with New York, thanks to the existence of several international organizations. This comprises the headquarters of many of the organizations of the United Nations and the Red Cross. This is the place where the Geneva Conventions were signed, which primarily concern the management of wartime non-combatants and prisoners of war.

International organizations

The World Intellectual Property Organization
Geneva houses the European headquarters of the United Nations. It is situated in the Palace of Nations building (Palais des Nations in French), also the headquarters of the former League of Nations. The following agencies are also located at Geneva:

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

The Palace of Nations

Apart from the United Nation agencies, Geneva hosts many inter-governmental organizations such as:

  • World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • World Economic Forum (WEF)
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

There are a number of Geneva-based global organisations working on environment protection and sustainable development. The Geneva Environment Network (GEN) publishes the Geneva Green Guide, which provides an extensive listing of these organisations. If you want to know about how NGOs, business, government and the UN cooperate in Geneva, a website by the Swiss Government, WBCSD, UNEP and IUCN includes these stories in their site in an attempt to explain why Geneva has been picked by so many NGOs and UN as their headquarters location.

The many international organisations existing in the city is one of the reasons why there are many Expats in Geneva living in well-established communities. It has always been a pride for many expats to work on these international groups as well as enjoy living in Geneva given many more advantages offered by the city.

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